MAYO BOUND Gerald Dawe in the famous Crown Bar on Great Victoria Street, Belfast. Pic: Bobbie Hanvey
Celebrated Belfast-born poet Gerald Dawe will launch his latest collection, ‘Crossing the Sound’, in The Creel in Westport, on June 13. The collection contains poems from the west of Ireland alongside artwork by Connemara-based artist Padraic Reaney. The evening will include readings from the collection by Dawe, as well as readings by Westport-based poet Seán Lysaght from his own recently released book, ‘Eagle Country’.
A limited edition of just 200 copies, ‘Crossing the Sound’ features poems written over a 40-year period by Dawe. It celebrates and illuminates the beauty and history of the west of Ireland landscape through a curated selection of art and poetry inspired by and connected to the region.
Dawe and Reaney first met back in the mid 1970s in Galway, where Dawe had moved from Belfast to study at UCG, as it then was. He remained in the City of the Tribes for the next twenty years before moving to Dublin in 1992.
This latest collection came about when the two recently decided to collaborate, Dawe explains. “On a return to Galway as a visiting fellow at The Moore Institute (NUIG), the early years returned to me along with some new poems. During several conversations with Padraic we decided to collect a representative sample of the poems I had written out of the west – Galway, but also Mayo – and include alongside these 30 poems a series of images which Padraic had been working on from his various and long-established fascination with the smaller islands of the western seaboard, including Inishark.”
The images by Reaney do not illustrate Dawe’s poems. Standalone artworks, they will form part of an exhibition of his paintings and graphics due to open in the Kenny Art Gallery, Galway, in the autumn on October 12.
All profits from the sales of ‘Crossing the Sound’ will be donated to Mayo-based cancer charity, Pink Ribbon. “This is a project we’ve been talking about for years. We’re delighted to see it finally in place in such as beautiful edition. It’s an apt way of offering a helping hand to the Pink Ribbon Charity in Mayo. Finding ways of overcoming cancer is the big picture; this is just a small step,” says Dawe.
Seán Lysaght’s ‘Eagle Country’ is a quest into the wild places of Mayo and the west of Ireland. What began as a series of walks along the roads close to the author’s house, exploring the fractal of country lanes and boreens, became an epic journey across the remote hills and rugged sea coasts in search of places where sea eagles and golden eagles nested before their local extinction in the twentieth century. Lysaght has published six volumes of poems, including ‘The Clare Island Survey’, ‘Scarecrow’, ‘The Mouth of a River’ and ‘Carnival Masks’, all from Gallery Press. He has also published a translation of Goethe’s ‘Venetian Epigrams’ (Gallery, 2008) and a verse narrative of the life of Edmund Spenser.
The launch of ‘Crossing the Sound’ will be held in The Creel, The Quay, Westport, on Wedesday, June 13 at 8pm.